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A Greener Way to Paint Vehicles

Ford Lincoln News From Eby Ford Lincoln of Elkhart County, IN - Painting vehicles has traditionally been one of the auto industry's biggest environmental challenges. However, we've found an environmentally sound, cost-efficient solution that produces beautifully painted vehicles with long-term durability.

An Industry First
We're working with U-Haul to put on the road the industry's first fleet of vehicles painted with Ford's environmentally responsible new technology, which produces 15 percent fewer greenhouse gases than the traditional method and cuts Ford's production costs.

The technology combines an advanced chemical formulation of high-solids, solvent-borne paint with an innovative three-wet application process that requires a smaller, less expensive and cleaner paint shop than traditional automotive paint facilities.

In addition to reduced CO2 emissions, the new technology reduces volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions by about 10 percent. We estimate we can save approximately $7 per vehicle by cutting the time it takes to paint a vehicle by almost 20 percent as well as reducing the size of the traditional paint shop by nearly 15 percent.

A Greener Process
Our new high-solids, solvent-borne paint formulation produces fewer VOC and CO2 emissions than do water-borne and current solvent-borne paints. Because the new formulation contains more color pigment, it requires less paint to cover a vehicle than water-based paint. Furthermore, the new technology allows for three coats of wet paint to be applied to the vehicle one on top of the other, without drying between coats. This eliminates the prime-coat application and its related processes, which means a smaller, more efficient paint shop.

Furthermore, there's no need for an air-conditioning process or an additional low-temperature oven, which are required in water-borne paint shops to evaporate the water from the paint.

The paint formulation contains new polymers and other additives that prevent running and sagging during the three-wet application process. And our laboratory tests show the high-solids, solvent-borne paint provides better long-term resistance to chips and scratches than does water-borne paint.

Gathering Data for Expanded Application
We'll monitor the U-Haul fleet over the next year to gather important durability data that will help us develop long-term rollout plans for our industry-first technology. Once we understand how it performs in the real world, we'll determine how best to apply it to other manufacturing facilities.

International Recognition
In June, Ford won the "Best Technical Prize" for its new paint technology at SURCAR: The International Conference on Automobile Body Finishing in Cannes, France.
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